Pelosi criticizes cancer charity for break with Planned Parenthood

The Susan G. Komen Foundation's recent decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood is an "unfortunate" move that will harm women's health, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Thursday. 

"I feel very sad about it," Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol. "Their collaboration with Planned Parenthood … was one that benefited women's health, and I feel sad that this decision on their part is to the detriment of women's health." 

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The Komen Foundation, the nation's pre-eminent breast-cancer charity, raised eyebrows Wednesday by announcing it would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood for women's cancer screenings. Komen cited a new policy of not funding groups being probed by Congress. 

Behind Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Investigations subpanel, House Republicans are examining whether Planned Parenthood uses federal funds to provide abortion services.

Pelosi characterized the Komen Foundation as "a very effective organization – very professionally run – and for a good purpose."


But the California Democrat also questioned whether the group is being consistent in applying its new investigations standard.

"If the basic premise is that they can't be associated with anybody [who's] being investigated, it will be interesting to see who else they're associated with and whether they're [being] investigated, too," Pelosi said. "That would be everybody from the NIH [National Institutes of Health] to, you know, down the line.

"If that's the standard," she added, "then I think they have to be consistent."  

Asked if Komen's decision was motivated by politics, Pelosi declined to hazard a guess.

"I have no idea," she said. "I don't attribute any motivation. I just don't know why they would do such a thing."

Pelosi joins a growing list of Democratic women who have criticized the Komen Foundation this week for breaking with Planned Parenthood. On Wednesday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) took to the House floor to announce that she'll no longer support the powerhouse cancer group.

"I have been a big booster of the Susan G. Komen organization," Speier said. "But not anymore."

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) also registered her disapproval Wednesday.

"It's a disappointment," Schwartz said. "Planned Parenthood has been very straight about this — and I think they're very careful about it — to make sure that they separate the funds that they're supposed to."

On a related topic, Pelosi said she fully supports the Obama administration's recent decision to require all insurance plans – even those offered by Catholic hospitals and other religion-based employers – to cover birth control notwithstanding their religious convictions.

But she grew testy when the reporter broaching that topic read his lengthy question from a sheet of paper.

"Is this a speech, or do we have a question disguised as a speech?" Pelosi, who is Catholic, interjected mid-stream.

The reporter continued, noting the outcry from Catholic bishops that the new rule steps upon their constitutional rights: "Will you stand with your fellow Catholics in resisting this law, or will you stick by the administration?"

Pelosi's response was clear, but uncharacteristically terse.

"I'm gonna stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration," Pelosi said. "It was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it." 

Updated at 5:42 p.m.